A major new film documentary, "How the Monuments Came Down," which explores Richmond's history through the lens of its Confederate monuments, will premiere on Thursday, June 10 at Maymont in partnership with Afrikana Film Festival, Maymont and the JXN Project. Funded by VPM and the Virginia Film Office, it was made by Emmy-winning directors Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, whose previous works have aired on PBS.
The directors' Field Studio and VPM announced that the premiere will be a socially distanced outdoor event featuring pods. It will include a special pre-screening discussion with Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams and the film's four story advisors: Christy Coleman, Julian Hayter, Enjoli Moon, and Joseph Rogers.
The screening on June 10 in Maymont will have gates open at 7 p.m. and there will be food trucks on hand with music from Butcher Brown at 7:30 p.m.
According to a press release: "The program will begin promptly at 8:30 p.m. with a pre-screening discussion, followed by the film, and conclude at 10:45. Tickets are $10 and should be purchased in advance at this link. Each ticket will secure a pod on the Carriage House Lawn that accommodates up to four people, and each pod will be distanced from the others in an effort to encourage safe viewing for all attendees. In the event of rain, the premiere will take place on Wednesday, June 23."
Here's a trailer for the film:
Here's more from the press release:
"'How the Monuments Came Down' begins with scenes from last summer, when streets shook with protests against systemic racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The filmmakers reveal the deep historical roots of this moment, grounded in the competing traditions of white supremacy and Black resistance in Richmond since the end of the Civil War. A diverse cast of 30 Richmonders — including history-makers, descendants, scholars, and activists — tells this story, supported by a vast visual record of Richmond’s history never before presented in a single work.
Throughout, this epic story of struggles over power and justice is driven by individual narratives with names both familiar and likely new to most viewers: Robert E. Lee, James Apostle Fields, Jubal Early, Maggie Walker, Curtis Holt, Arthur Ashe, Chuck Richardson, and Janine Bell are some of the many people whose lives and work help to illustrate why Confederate monuments came to powerfully shape Richmond’s landscape — and why people demanded they be taken down."
Most recently, Ayers and Warren produced two seasons of the VPM series, "The Future of America's Past," a history on-location show hosted by historian Edward L. Ayers, president emeritus of the University of Richmond. They also made a documentary short, "Woke Vote," which covered Black millennial political activists mobilizing voters in the South.
The new documentary included a mostly local team, as the press release notes, including "story advisors Christy Coleman, a nationally renowned museum professional who led the American Civil War Museum for 12 years; Julian Hayter, an historian at the University of Richmond and an authority on Richmond’s political history; Enjoli Moon, Founder and Creative Director of Afrikana Film Festival, Co-Founder of The JXN Project, and Assistant Curator of Film at the ICA; and Joseph Rogers, a public historian at the American Civil War Museum, descendant of a key character in the film, and a progressive organizer."
"The film is principally a work of history," the release notes. "And yet, through its documentation of last year’s uprising for racial justice, it is also a historical source preserving moments in Richmond’s history that will never be seen again."